I sat down (virtually) with a friend of mine, Charlotte Kemp to talk about what NPOs need to be doing right now to not just survive but thrive in the current environment, for her nonprofit focused podcast.

In this snippet I talk about the impact of COVID on NPOs and the 1st thing many associations need to start doing right away.

In order for not-for-profit organizations to exist in the future if you think Covid-19’s a crisis, a lot of organizations have been struggling with member recruitment and retention for years. What ends up happening is you have global crises that then accelerate their demise. Even pre-Covid, every single year when that organization sends out their renewal notice to their members, you think you’re the only Association that your members are a part of?

 I’m a member of a number of different NPOs so when those invoices come, those renewal ,notices come, I’m gonna ask myself what have you done for me lately? What’s the value of being a member? And do you get my hundreds of dollars just because? Do you know how many organizations are like, “Hey, come on man. You just renew, just because.” No, not just because. You tell me why I should renew my membership dues? What’s this organization gonna do for me?

If it’s a charity, a registered charity, that they’re likely going to do better because they’re going to get funding from government, they’re gonna get people who are going to make charitable contributions. I think they’re going to be fine.

If it’s a regulatory body as an association they will also do fine because if you want to be an accountant, if you want to be a realtor or real estate broker you need to get accreditation and you have to be registered with some of these bodies so they’re gonna be fine.

If yours is a voluntary membership organization that’s social, industry professional but not regulated like speakers associations like sports right they don’t have to join. So you really need to think about if you’re going to survive. What’s going to be that thread that brings everybody together where they feel like that they need to be a member that you’re that membership in your organization is indispensable and irreplaceable and more organizations finally need to start looking at non-dues revenue as their primary source of revenue to survive. Because if they’re just looking at dues revenue as their primary source of income, they’re in big trouble so they need to look at non-dues revenue.

About Tom (TJ) Abbott

Tom (TJ) Abbott, CSP is the Managing Director of AMC NPO Solutions and an authority on Governance. He has over 25 years experience as CEO, President and board director of several not-for-profit organizations. Tom has also spoken in over 20 countries.